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  1. Vol. 95 No. 5, p. 1281-1287
     
    Received: Sept 11, 2002
    Published: Sept, 2003


    * Corresponding author(s): hhs1@uga.edu
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doi:10.2134/agronj2003.1281

Comparison of Tillage Types and Frequencies for Cotton on Southern Piedmont Soil

  1. Harry H. Schomberg *a,
  2. George W. Langdalea,
  3. Alan J. Franzluebbersa and
  4. Marshall C. Lambb
  1. a USDA-ARS, J. Phil Campbell, Sr., Nat. Resour. Conserv. Cent., 1420 Experiment Station Rd., Watkinsville, GA 30677
    b USDA-ARS, Natl. Peanut Res. Lab., Dawson, GA 31742

Abstract

Tillage to disrupt root-restricting, consolidated soil zones can improve rooting capacity and crop production, but costs increase with the need for more powerful tractors. Between 1992 and 1996, agronomic and economic consequences of annual or less frequent soil disruption treatments were evaluated for cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.) on a Typic Kanhapludult. Two soil-disruptive treatments, fall paratillage (PT) and in-row chisel (IC) at planting (spring), were compared with two shallow-tillage treatments, coulter planting plus weed control with sweeps (ST) and conventional disk tillage (DT). The IC, PT, and ST treatments were applied annually or in Years 3, 4, and 5. Lint yield with annual IC was 15 to 20% greater than with DT each year. In 1994, yields ranged from 0.53 to 0.84 Mg ha−1 with annual IC and were better than with annual ST or PT. In 1995, yields ranged from 0.92 to 1.29 Mg ha−1, with the top yield associated with current-year IC application. In 1996, no differences in yield were observed among tillages; however, yields of two IC treatments were among the top five. For Years 3, 4, and 5, cotton yields were numerically greater with annual IC than with annual PT and ST. Yields with PT, ST, and DT were not different. Average annual net returns from annual IC were $450, $403, and $287 ha−1 greater than those with annual DT, PT, and ST, respectively. In-row chisel appears to be a more economically viable production practice for heavy Piedmont soils compared with PT, ST, and DT.

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